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‘More Red Flags Than A Chinese Communist Rally’: Utah Cop Says Brian Laundrie Was ‘Emotional Bully’ To Gabby Petito
“I thought he was a mental threat to her,” Moab police officer Eric Pratt said of Brian Laundrie, in reference to Gabby Petito, per court documents.
A Utah police officer who encountered Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito weeks before the travel influencer’s murder described Laundrie as a “mental and emotional bully,” newly filed court documents show.
Moab police officer Eric Pratt is one of several officers who responded to a domestic violence call on Aug. 20, 2021 involving Petito and Laundrie shortly before Petito’s body was recovered from Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, according to ABC News, citing a civil complaint. Pratt was one of the first on the scene that day.
Comments he made surrounding Laundrie’s demeanor and alleged emotional abuse of Petito were added to part of an amended complaint filed by Petito’s family against Utah authorities alleging negligence following the 22-year-old’s death.
"Officer Pratt has also admitted, 'I thought he was an emotional threat to her,'” court records cited by ABC News stated. “'I thought he was a mental threat to her.' Similarly, he says he concluded during the traffic stop that Brian 'seemed like a mental and emotional bully.'”
The Moab police officer admitted that Laundrie had ultimately raised “more red flags than a Chinese communist rally” during the traffic stop in question, per court papers. He made the admission when questioned about the incident by Price City Police Department Capt. Brandon Ratcliffe following Petito’s death.
"Officer Pratt has also colorfully admitted, 'I know these kind of guys. Brian didn't get away with anything for being cute. Brian showed more red flags than a Chinese communist rally," the amended complained read.
Pratt said that Laundrie “clearly has influence over [Petito’s] mentality that looked unsavory.”
“He’s mentally messing with her,” Pratt said. “He’s just a weird, not healthy dude, and that was clear ... I thought he was an emotional threat to her. I thought he was a mental threat to her.”
The Utah cop, however, defended his decision to not arrest Laundrie or escalate the matter, saying that there's no law against "being a s—ty boyfriend and gaslighting and taking advantage of people mentally and emotionally for your own reasons," per the amended filing.
The lawsuit also accuses authorities of treating Petito more like an aggressor in the situation than a victim.
After Moab officers ultimately let the couple go, they continued traveling west, where officials allege Laundrie fatally strangled Petito and dumped her body in the Wyoming wilderness. Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11, 2021. Laundrie later returned to Florida and killed himself a short time later, according to authorities. His partial skeletal remains were located in an environmental park on Oct. 20.
“Gabby's murder might have been prevented if the officers had acted properly," the lawsuit’s complaint stated.
Lawyers for Petito’s parents last month released a graphic selfie showing Petito’s battered face, injuries that they allege were inflicted by Laundrie shortly before Moab police arrived on the scene on the day of the domestic violence call. The images, according to the Petito family attorneys, are further evidence that law enforcement failed to intervene.
“He, like, grabbed my face,” Petito then-told police, according to court documents. “Well, he like grabbed me, like with his nail, and I guess that’s why it hurts."
“I definitely have a cut," she added. "Like, I can feel it.”
Petito’s family has also sued Laundrie’s family for exacerbating their emotional distress.